WordPress Lab Exercise 3: Users, Roles, Gravatars

In your new WordPress installation, we will explore Users, User Roles, Gravatars, Comments, Spam Solutions, and more.

In this exercise, we’re going to use a number of features that require a WordPress.com account. This account is different from that for your own self-hosted WordPress site.

So if you don’t have a WordPress.com account, please go sign up for one.

Gravatars, Users, & User Roles

Once you have a WordPress.com account, go to gravatar.com and login with it.

Gravatar (which stands for globally recognized avatar) will let you associate an  icon with that email address. This will make the icon show up next to the users names in the list of Users in the dashboard. It will also, depending on the theme, show up next to comments you make while logged in there or at other sites.

Use the Mac program Picture Booth to take a picture of yourself, then upload it to the Gravatar site. Don’t worry if the picture isn’t perfect. When the exercise is done, you can always delete it or deactivate it at the site. Or use Illustrator or Photoshop and make an image to represent you.

If you go to the Users section of the Dashboard, you should now (or soon: it can take a few minutes) see the gravatar beside your name.

Make Some New Users

In the next part of this exercise, you will make a number of users for your site. So we can keep things straight in our minds, we will use the same password for all the users: I’ll give you one in class.

For the email addresses of your new users, please download this file and use the ones listed in it.

Hopefully, you agree that this is not something to do in the real world, because it’s insecure to reuse passwords. We’re doing it here because it’s convenient for learning purposes.

Make a new user with a user name of “eddieeditor”. For First Name, use “Eddie” and for Last Name use “Editor.” Set the user role of eddie to “Editor.”

Make a new user with a user name of “annaauthor”. For First Name use “Anna” and for Last Name use “Author.” Set the user role of anna to “Author.”

Finally, name a new user with a user name of “conniecontributor”. For first name use “Connie” and for Last Name use “Contributor.”

In sequence log in as each of these users. Hint: you could do this in a different browser. That way you could stay logged in as your administrator in one browser and log in as another user in the the other browser.

Observe how the dashboard changes with each user. From this, what can you deduce about how do the roles of admin, editor, author, and contributor differ?

Make a post as each user: eddieeditor, annaauthor,  and conniecontributor.

What can a contributor do? What can an editor do that an author can’t?

Change conniecontributor’s account status to subscriber. Login as her. What has changed?

User Display Names

  1. Figure out how to get the name of “annaauthor” to display on posts, pages, and comments as just her first name.
  2. Give eddie the nickname “Fast Eddie Editor” and get that to display as his public handle.
  3. Make conniecontributor’s name display as both first and last name.


The default setup for WordPress is to allow comments, so let’s explore how they work “out of the box.”

Turn to your neighbour, find out his or her ID. Go to their site. Comment on one of their posts.When prompted enter the email address you used to register your gravatar. Ask your neighbour to comment on one of your posts.

Once you’ve submitted your comment, get your classmate to approve the comment. Do the same for your neighbor’s comment on your site.

See if your gravatars show up next to your comments on each other’s sites.

Now, with your neighbor, make another comment on the site. This time we’ll pretend you’ve said something inappropriate (maybe you said that Nickelback is a good band). Ask your neighbour to do the same.

Once your neighbor’s “inappropriate” comment has been submitted to your site, figure out how to delete it.

Set Up Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin

One of the deeply annoying parts of having a site with commenting enabled is that you will very likely attract a lot of comment spam.

WordPress, however, has an automated way of dealing with this stuff.

Go to akismet.com and use your WordPress.com account to sign up for the akismet service. For a personal site, like this one obviously, you can use the free option.

Now go to the Plugins area of the Dashboard and figure out how to enable Akismet.

Once you and your neighbour have done this, try submitting obviously spammy comments to each other’s sites.

In other words, see if you can trigger the Akismet filter. I’m not sure this will work so soon after setup of Akismet, but let’s give it a try.

Ultimately, if you are going to use WordPress comments, you need Akismet.


Install and activate the JetPack plugin. This, too, requires a WordPress.com account.


Try out the enhanced widgets, the contact form, the gallery,

Add your Gravatar Profile to the bottom of all pages in your site.

Assignment for Groups: from the WordPress plugin gallery, find five plugins you think could be very useful and report back.


Sucuri or WordFence

WPMuDev 100 Best WP Themes Ever

good ones: fashionista,